Estimating mangrove in Florida: trials monitoring rare ecosystemsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Mangrove species are keystone components in coastal ecosystems and are the interface between forest land and sea. Yet, estimates of their area have varied widely. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data from ground-based sample plots provide one estimate of the resource. Initial FIA estimates of the mangrove resource in Florida varied dramatically from those compiled by other sources. Estimates of mangrove forest in Florida ranged from FIA’s less than 100,000 acres to nearly 600,000 acres elsewhere. FIA discovered inherent measurement difficulties, accessibility constraints, and adverse working conditions affecting accurate sampling and estimation of the resource. Reconciliation of these issues produced improved estimates. However, disparity with other estimates remains. FIA concluded that accurate assessment of peripheral margin-like resources, such as mangrove, must include methods used to sample any spatially limited resource of interest. Current FIA estimates show 238,000 acres of mangrove forest type in Florida with a sampling error of 15.48 percent.